If you love your action flicks stuffed full of nonsense exposition and explanation, Infinite is the film for you.
You know you’re in trouble when a high-concept sci-fi or fantasy action flick opens with a voiceover that explains the premise and defines a bunch of jargon. So it goes with Infinite, a tremendously tepid lurch that stars Mark Wahlberg as, yes, an Infinite, which is defined here as someone who has complete recall over all of their past lives.
The Infinites battle the Nihilists, a bunch of bad Infinites who, because they are sick of having incredible talents and unsurpassed skills and knowledge for some reason, wish to die permanently. To that end, their leader, a guy named Bathurst (played at first by Rupert Friend and then later by Chiwetel Ejiofor, because reincarnation) has invented a weird CGI egg, called The Egg, that will destroy every living thing on Earth (just to be safe? Who knows?). The rub? He lost it when Wahlberg’s character stole it in a past life and didn’t tell anyone where he hid it.
Most of Infinite is made up of either chase scenes peppered with expository dialogue — in one case a character nearly recites that entire opening voiceover to him, just in case you didn’t catch it the first time — or just regular scenes with expository dialogue, plus a training montage. Wahlberg’s lovable jerk hero is fully incredulous about his alleged powers until he gets into a fight with some armored SWAT guys, which sways him. Apologies for all the plot summary here; it’s necessary because it’s the only way to replicate what it’s like to watch Infinite, which is essentially a series of scenes in which secondary characters describe to the star what just happened, what is happening right now, and what is about to happen in the next scene, all so that the audience can grasp the heady philosophical concepts involved in Mark Wahlberg being able to handcraft a samurai sword with modern smithing tools while still using a technique from feudal Japan. Eventually the good guys — including a grating Jason Manzoukas as “The Artisan” — put his noodle in a fancy microwave or something, and he comes out the Highlander.
One question. Bathhurst wants to die, and has also invented a gun — hilariously called The Dethroner — that traps the souls of Infinites when he shoots them with it, effectively ending their reincarnation loops. The question, then, has to be: why doesn’t he just shoot himself in the brain with it and let everyone else do whatever? Honestly, though, who cares?
The film is directed by the always erratic, increasingly terrible Antoine Fuqua, who has perhaps not made a good movie since his debut feature Training Day, but who has occasionally shown flashes of trashy competence. His Denzel vehicle The Equalizer was charmingly gruff and bloody. Elsewhere, Shooter, also starring Wahlberg, displayed some real spatial confidence and formal economy. Infinite, however, sees Fuqua descend to new depths of anonymity, with entirely green-screened set-pieces, fight scenes jacked up with hazy overcutting and step frames, and chase sequences that violate simple precepts of screen direction. He is one of the most comfortable, bankable action directors in Hollywood, but you’d be forgiven for thinking this was directed by some studio hack like Robert Schwentke (go ahead, IMDb him, I’ll wait). It’s tacky product, fully deserving its fate of being dumped to also-ran streaming status.
You can currently stream Antoine Fuqua’s Infinite on Paramount+.